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Pediatric Thymoma Follow-up

  • Author: Richard A Bickel, MD; Chief Editor: Harumi Jyonouchi, MD  more...
Updated: Mar 21, 2016


Complications may include the following:

  • Structural problems, such as compression syndromes that involve the bronchi or lungs or superior vena cava syndrome (SVCS), can occur from local spread of benign thymoma, from thymic cysts, or from thymic carcinoma. Presenting symptoms may include chest pain, SVCS, dyspnea, dysphagia, and cough.
  • Areas of benign thymoma can become highly vascular or necrotic and lead to bleeding.
  • Clinical manifestations include paraneoplastic syndromes and immunodeficiency.


Adverse predictive factors include the following:[43, 44]

  • Invasive or metastatic tumor
  • Tracheal or vascular compression
  • Age younger than 30 years
  • Epithelial or mixed histology
  • Tumor size of more than 8 cm [45]

The presence of myasthenia gravis (MG) with thymomas is no longer considered a poor prognostic factor and is actually thought to be a favorable prognostic factor.[46]

Based on WHO classification, the 5-year and 10-year survival rates are as follows:[47, 48]

  • Type A - 100% and 95%, respectively
  • Type AB - 93% and 90%, respectively
  • Type B1 - 89% and 85%, respectively
  • Type B2 - 82% and 71%, respectively
  • Type B3 - 71% and 40%, respectively
  • Type C - 23% (5-year survival rate)

Recurrence of thymoma can occur after resection. A study surgical outcomes after recurrence of thymic epithelial tumors in 67 patients showed an overall survival rate at 10 years of 70% in those undergoing re-resection.[32]

For patients with Masaoka stage IVA thymomas, a study of 18 patients reported survival rates at 3 years (91%), 5 years (78%), and 10 years (65%).[49] These patients underwent multimodality therapy, including surgical resection, preoperative chemotherapy, and even postoperative radiation therapy (in select patients).

Contributor Information and Disclosures

Richard A Bickel, MD Chief, Allergy Clinic, Moncrief Army Community Hospital

Richard A Bickel, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


Cecilia P Mikita, MD, MPH Associate Program Director, Allergy-Immunology Fellowship, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences; Staff Allergist/Immunologist, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center

Cecilia P Mikita, MD, MPH is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Mary L Windle, PharmD Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

David J Valacer, MD 

David J Valacer, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Thoracic Society, New York Academy of Sciences

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Harumi Jyonouchi, MD Faculty, Division of Allergy/Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Department of Pediatrics, Saint Peter's University Hospital

Harumi Jyonouchi, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Association of Immunologists, American Medical Association, Clinical Immunology Society, New York Academy of Sciences, Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine, Society for Pediatric Research, Society for Mucosal Immunology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

Terry W Chin, MD, PhD Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine; Associate Director, Cystic Fibrosis Center, Attending Staff Physician, Department of Pediatric Pulmonology, Allergy, and Immunology, Memorial Miller Children's Hospital

Terry W Chin, MD, PhD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, American Association of Immunologists, American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, American College of Chest Physicians, American Federation for Clinical Research, American Thoracic Society, California Society of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, California Thoracic Society, Clinical Immunology Society, Los Angeles Pediatric Society, Western Society for Pediatric Research

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


The authors and editors of Medscape Reference gratefully acknowledge the contributions of previous author Marion Johnson, MD, to the development and writing of this article.

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Table 1. Comparison of the Different Classifications of Thymic Epithelial Tumors [27]
Clinicopathologic Classification WHO Type Terminology of the Histogenetic Classification for the Histologic Subtypes of Thymic Epithelial Tumors
Benign thymoma A


Medullary thymoma

Mixed thymoma

Malignant thymomas,

Category I




Predominantly cortical thymoma

Cortical thymoma

Well-differentiated thymic carcinoma

Malignant thymomas,

Category II

C Epidermoid keratinizing (squamous cell) carcinoma

Epidermoid nonkeratinizing carcinoma

Lymphoepithelioma-like carcinoma

Sarcomatoid carcinoma (carcinosarcoma)

Clear cell carcinoma

Mucoepidermoid carcinoma

Undifferentiated carcinoma

Table. Macchiarini et al (1991) [38]
Cisplatin 75 mg/m2 on day 1 3 courses repeated q3wk
Epirubicin 100 mg/m2 on day 1
Etoposide 120 mg/m2 on days 1, 3, and 5
Surgery and radiation

in patients with

complete or partial

response to chemotherapy

4500 cGy if complete


6000 cGy if incomplete


Table. Loehrer et al (1997) [39]
Cisplatin 50 mg/m2 2-4 cycles q3wk
Doxorubicin 50 mg/m2
Cyclophosphamide 500 mg/m2
Followed by radiation 54 Gy to the primary tumor and lymph nodes
Table. Venuta et al (1997) [40]
Cisplatin 75-100 mg/m2 on day 1 Repeated q3wk 3 times before surgery and 2 or 3 times after surgery
Epirubicin hydrochloride 100 mg/m2 on day 1
Etoposide 120 mg/m2 on days 1, 3, and 5
Postoperative radiation in patients with radical resection 30 Gy Delivered in 3 wk with 5 fractions per wk
Postoperative radiation in

patients with incomplete resection

50 Gy Delivered in 5 wk with 5 fractions per wk
Table. Palmieri et al (1999) [42]
Octreotide 1.5 mg/d SC In patients shown to have

somatostatin receptors

Lanreotide 30 mg/d SC q14d Switch to this longer-acting

somatostatin analogue or depot form of octreotide if short-acting octreotide

is well tolerated

Prednisone 0.6 mg/kg/d PO

for 3 mo, then

decreasing to 0.2 mg/kg

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